I interned at two companies in the defense industry. You could argue that our experiences were different because of security, but I disagree. The environment you described sounds like an absolute heaven: you have challenging, fun work, and have extremely well placed and delivered benefits. At both of my internships, the problems were hard. They weren't particularly fun to solve so much as they "had" to be solved and I was the only one to solve them. I got similar rewarding experiences completing tasks, though everything I did had to be "on the clock." As soon as we stopped working, we were expected to stop billing or move to some other task.
The offices were dull, boring, and expensive to spend time in. Your internship had availability of food and technology that kept you happy. Neither of mine did this. At one internship, we had a free snack room. That's it. If we wanted to eat lunch at the cafeteria at my second internship, we could at great personal cost. We were stuck with "hand me down" hardware that was a menagerie of hardware pulled from random places throughout the building. If you were given a bad keyboard on day one, too bad -- it was yours forever.
I complain like this because you had the exact opposite of the experience I had. Your experience is an irregularity, at least compared to what I've seen. This all comes down to culture, I think. The Google corporate culture is modern, focused on employee happiness, and focused on diversity. Things like getting your own hardware choices and free food go a long way to adding goodwill, and failing to take basic measures like that shows what I consider to be a lack of caring.
I wish more companies would copy Google on how they treat their employees and interns. Even if it might seem a bit cheesy to go after the low hanging fruit, employee happiness goes a long way to building a thriving, mutually beneficial relationship between an employee and a company.
Seeing a post like this makes me feel like my internship hosts haven't cared in the slightest. That's pretty painful, if I'm brutally honest.
And BTW - this has nothing to do with defense industry, it's just 99% of business is like this.
Business could do a lot more to make a more fun environment.
On the other hand ...
Google is a 'de-facto' monopoly, and they print money. They are super, super rich, and literally have billions more than they know what to do with.
So it's easy to justify a lot of extra expenses. And these things can be expensive.
Lastly - let's not be so naive. Much of the reason many of these things are offered is so that you 'never have to leave the office'. 'Free lunch' was a cold, hard, Google style calculation: the time it took to 'drive to resto and back' was wasted time, it was cheaper to give people food than have them waste this time.
Years ago, my friend interviewed at Google, and they lauded all the 'free clothes' that you could take, which were often used 'the next day' as employees 'stayed the night'. Sleeping over at the office was a relatively common practice, and as such, there's going to arguably be some pressure to work insane hours. Which is completely against the law. We lambast conditions in factories in China, and just because Google workers earn a bit more does not mean that the practice is any less problematic, when the vast majority of the surpluses are going to 'the factory owners'.
No, it's not. If it was, all companies would do it. And they would probably just give away sandwiches and call it a day instead of setting up dozens of gourmet cafeterias with different themes and chefs at the helm throughout their campuses.
Google loses millions of dollars every day in free food.
Why do they do it? Because that's how the company started and even after the IPO and the accountability that came with it, the founders stuck with their decision to put the employees first and the shareholders second
No, this is false.
Google employees productivity, as measured in earnings/capita, is significantly greater than most other companies.
Google does not 'lose money' on the policy, if it was a 'net loser', they would end it.
It's effectively part of the total incentive package.
If it costs them $20/day per person, that's an extra $4K/year per person, if it increases productivity by only 2% it's an obvious winner based on that easy calculation alone.
Google has billions of dollars they don't know what to do with, and their effective cost of capital is very low. Anything they can do to materially lift output - that doesn't cost zillions - is probably worth it.
> So it's easy to justify a lot of extra expenses
I see how it can look like that from outside, but from within Google is pretty serious about expenses and costs. All the perks and benefits are an investment to acquire and retain the employees, and to allow them to be as productive as possible.
Remember as an example that Google stock doesn't give dividends: all profits are reinvested in the projects.
Which validates my point: the value of the 'free food' is a calculation. It's based on employee productivity gains, retainment etc.. If it wasn't an economic value-add, it would be canned.
"Google stock doesn't give dividends: all profits are reinvested in the projects"
Sorry to be picky but this statement is not true at all.
1) It does not matter whether a company pays dividends, or a company retains the earnings for shareholders. Economically - they are equivalent. In practice, companies get valued a little bit differently ... but financially they are equal.
2) A company that 'reinvests all profits in projects' is called a 'non profit' - and would mean a share price of $0. :) :) :)
> [Google] literally have billions more than they know what to do with
Google knows exactly what to do with it, and from my understanding hasn't ran out of business ideas for that since its founding.
No, it's not.
More importantly - your statement that "Google re-invests all profits in projects" is definitely not true, moreover, it's relationship to 'dividends' is not relevant at all.
"Google knows exactly what to do with it, and from my understanding hasn't ran out of business ideas for that since its founding."
Again, not true.
That any company has such a large war chest is strong evidence that they have no clue how to spend it.
Yes - it's important to have a fund for acquisitions and to take on unforeseen threats, but it's generally accepted that near monopoly providers have this problem.
Microsoft had so much money relative to earnings at one point - that financial analysts started to treat it as a 'fund' as opposed to a product company - and use different metrics to understand it's efficiency.
These companies have very low capital efficiencies, and all that money is seen as a drag on many measures of efficiency, which is why they are strongly pushed to return the money to shareholder - who can put it to work more effectively elsewhere.
Google has absolutely no idea what to do with at least 1/2 of assets that it is sitting on, which is why they are sitting on them.
Put another way:
If Google did have amazing, high-ROI projects to invest in, they situation would be the opposite: they would be spending it all - and likely taking on debt (because it's very cheap right now) - which would be a way to leverage their 'amazing projects' quite dramatically and to make more money.
'High growth' companies should almost always be leveraging up, because that's how they can get the most out of whatever it is that they are doing. Same for companies that can forecast consistent returns.
If your 'business idea' is getting more ROI than your 'cost of capital' then the more you lever up, the more money you make.
But no. Google has nowhere to spend the money.
This. While general funding (IT is a very well funded sector) also matters, most of this is cultural. As an anecdote, I interned in a place (not IT related) where we had to use our personal laptops and even pay for drinking water and toilet paper..
I bet you that they have red flags all over glassdoor?
I discovered some of the secrets of his success - my favorite being that when me and the IT manager had to fly to their other office to do some network stuff, I was a consultant, so I got a hotel nearby. Poor IT manager had to sleep in the company owner's spare bedroom, with a 9pm curfew (because the owner had young children), and no alcohol.
More companies would love to copy Google's position athwart a massive river of gold (advertising), soon to be two rivers (cloud).
I work in a cube farm of grey cubes on boring LoB applications. I know I'll never be skilled enough (or, more correctly, I'll never be ambitious enough to become skilled enough) to work at Google et al but it's really fun to sample the experience from the outside. :)
There is a lot of varied work going on internally at Google. As well as the hard-core, intense, "pure" software engineering work that everyone thinks about going on at Google (search, self-driving cars, android, machine learning etc etc), there is also a lot of ... how can I put this nicely? erm ... lets say "less-pure" software engineering going on.
The hiring-bar is understandably high for the pure software engineers, but there are other roles. I am not a "software engineer" at Google (I am in another "less-pure" engineering role in the same office that was in the pictures in the article) but I still spend all day every day coding using the same equipment, tools, technologies and infrastructure as the "pure" engineers and we all get the same perks. The difference is that my work is mostly internal-only and generally wont get used by our end-users. And even if you're not a coder, there are still lots of roles that require technical skills to help our customers sort out their own technical problems.
Pre-emptive answers to potential questions:
* I just applied from the website for a job that sounded like a reasonable fit (not referral, no prior contact). The recruiters took it from there. Prior experience was a few years at IBM and a CompSci degree.
* Perks are good but I still do 8:30 - 5 each day, sometimes I work from home if I am feeling lazy. In my London office some people stay late, but usually just because it is easier to schedule meetings with team members in the US (time overlaps etc)
I want to work with eager, intelligent people so please I really do encourage anyone reading this to go take a look and apply. https://www.google.com/about/careers/
And they're also the ones that get to appear in most dev tutorial videos!
If you are, then great! But if you are not the very best-of-the-best that is fine as there are still options for you to work at Google and write code for a living, just you probably wont be working on the sexiest world-changing products.
I think you suffer from an extreme case of imposter syndrome. Looking through your comment history, I conclude you are more than capable of working there. Whether it would fit with your location/work-life-balance/life goals, I am not sure. Google gets an inflated reputation as do many other prestigious firms. The interview process contains a large element of chance.
1. I would suspect that anyone who has a passion for including more high-level thinking in the classes they teach has the right approach to technology. Let alone that you actually teach a programming course to begin with.
2. Many of your comments show insights into computing and algorithms that I would say are of the same caliber of those of my friends who work at Google.
steven777400 is ahead of the game!
It can't hurt to try.
I've been interviewed by Google for position once because they contact me on LinkedIn; I didn't think this site was actually useful before that. I had the classic code writing phone screening with a question I figured the answer but I had to reschedule it because of bad wireless connection (university library, home was not even my wifi). The next time my setting was better but the interview was harder and I failed it. After that I got kinda bad feeling over my skills, lack of luck, being not-smart-enough and the graduate work to do I didn't do in favor of interview preparation.
In the end it was not so bad because getting a job there would have mean not doing my international student exchange year and give up my second master degree, for which I worked even more.
Another time I applied for an internship at Microsoft, I got a programming question that was not in the book (unlike Google) but I managed to got a solution. I was thinking it was fine despite a silly right/left error but still get rejected at the skype screening step. I didn't really get accustomed by my first failed attempt at Google so I lived it like a confirmation of my lack of skills. I felt so bad about it I didn't program for a while after that (three weeks or maybe even one month).
I guess mental preparation is almost as important or even more than algorithmic one. Maybe be I'll try it again one day, not to stay on a fail.
I won't pretend that I wasn't very lucky in timing, interviewers, etc, but you won't get anywhere if you don't roll the dice.
I've had several offers to go work for Microsoft (as that's where my skills lie) but I've turned them down as they all involved a hefty pay cut that I couldn't afford to do.
The only problem is when the people you're interviewing with don't know that yet.
I am a full geek, applied twice. Didn't get any reply!
edit: changed book to tutorial
While some of the most intelligent people I know work at or have worked at Google at some point, I know just as many Googlers I would describe as incompetent company men incapable of seeing beyond a PR line. Please don't ever get the impression that Googlers are somehow above you, because they're not. They're just people doing jobs.
You probably deserve more credit than you give yourself, and hey, humility is a virtue.
Ugh, I can't believe how often I see this repeated with zero evidence to support it.
I work at Google. The office is a ghost town by 6:30. The work life balance on every team I'm aware of is great.
Saying the perks are some underhanded strategy to keep people around hugely insults the intelligence of the people working here or at any other office for that matter. Do you honestly think there are people that are like, "God, I'm miserable! I've been here 16 hours and I hate my life but I just... can't... stop... playing foosball!" Damn you, Google, and your nefarious perks!
No, that doesn't happen.
The reality is that skilled software engineers are in very high demand and companies compete very hard for them. Salary is part of it but perks are a huge component. No matter how much cash you make, for eight hours of the day, you are not spending it on fun leisure, you are at work. So companies understand now that they have to make the workplace appealing too to keep talent.
They also find, no surprise, that happy, stimulated people are productive, creative people too.
> Please don't ever get the impression that Googlers are somehow above you, because they're not.
I totally agree.
I was at Google for a little over 2 years, and it was like a vacation after the small company I was at previously. I went from feeling like the future of the company depended on how fast I could fix a customer's bug or add a new feature to being a cog in a machine. Eg, 80hrs/week to about 45, and the ability to not obsess about my work email while on vacation (thereby actually making it a vacation).
I was contributor to the "ghost town" effect. I would come in around 6am and leave around 3pm to be able to pick my son up from school and spend more time with him.
I've heard that some engineering teams at Amazon and Apple work long hours, but never heard it about Airbnb, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft (last 5 years), or Uber.
Some teams do
Similar for the other things like the pub or foosball; I can have a quick evening of hanging out with friends right there on the premises instead of driving an hour to meet up somewhere. So again the time saved ends up helping the company, and benefits me as well because who likes to sit in traffic.
I'm not saying it's better to do those things 100% of the time, but some healthy fraction. Of course it's a nice break to walk down the street for lunch on a nice day, etc.
hmm, not really, there was one time, my nap took so long that I had to pay almost $100 late fee to my daughter's preschool...
Back when I worked for British telecom in new buildings they wanted to offer free tea and coffee - HMRC said no you have to pay tax and that was the end of that.
Of course then one senior manger worked out that there was tax allowance that allowed a tax free profit related bonus and the company gave every one a $300 tax free bonus as a F&^k you to the tax man
I've worked in offices where we paid for coffee by an honour system.
A local council, which makes some revenue through parking metres, was required to put parking metres on its own carpark and charge its own employees, because it was Council land and this would make it a fringe benefit. There wasn't much sympathy, but still.
I keep hearing this but when I ask how to identify skilled engineers things get confused. ;)
Nobody has ever competed hard for me. "Skilled software engineers" is a very broad category, and only a subset are actually competed for. Choose the wrong specialization, live in the wrong area, or work for the wrong companies and you'll be lucky to even get acknowledgement of your applications.
I believe that the original motivation for offering free lunch was a calculation WRT how much time people 'wasted' driving to and fro a restaurant, and how much Google could/save profit by having the perks.
I do not believe Google is entirely nefarious with this culture and perks etc. - but please do not be so naive - it's a corporation, just like any other. Nearly everything they do - even internal practice - is oriented towards profit.
Most Googlers I encounter are extremely humble. I'd say one of the most valuable things about Googley culture is the lack of prima donna alpha-male macho-engineer behavior. Because Google has so many highly skilled engineers, and because it frowns in general on being an egotistical jerk, it's hard for even huge egos not to adopt some humility.
How can I think I'm the bees knees, when I work at a company that employs Rob Pike and Jeff Dean?
I've worked at IBM, Oracle, and several mid-sized companies over my 20 years as an engineer, and while many of those companies had high quality engineers, I'd say the biggest benefit of Google is the Company culture it created, not the skill levels of the people.
I'd love to work in a place like that. I'm sick and tired of people riding rough-shod over others in the workplace just because they think they are better than them.
Most places now value the voice of the loudest shouter, over the voice of the experienced knowledgeable specialist, so much in fact that everything becomes a dick measuring contest. As someone who doesn't identify as a typical male, this makes for a very uncomfortable working environment.
I can't tell if this is supposed to be evidence that you don't work long hours or an admission that you do.
If you want to change my commentary, you have to change your employer. Why not ask Larry Page at those company AMAs why Google keeps their contracts with manufacturers (now seen as illegal in most countries) so secret? Why not tell Larry Page you don't want to work at a company that uses political corruption to avoid being subject to the same laws as everyone else? Ask Larry Page to stop getting Google involved in overthrowing world leaders, and otherwise going well outside the reasonable bounds of a tech company. Tell Larry Page you want to work at a company that puts people, not algorithms, in charge of customer service. I mean, you literally now work at a company that's operating in complete defiance of federal law in Russia, as Google is refusing to comply with court orders there. As a long time employee, Ray, you are complicit in all of Google's incredibly terrible behavior, even if you aren't directly responsible for it.
If Google starts behaving itself, those of us following the news will listen and respond accordingly. Just as many have softened their take on Microsoft, as they've started making more consumer-friendly decisions. (Though there's some areas they still have a long way to go as well.)
You also don't mention that some of the things Google (and Facebook and Twitter) are not complying with concern Russian government attempts to persecute bloggers. Google was also not "compliant" with Beijing's demands for censorship and in 2010, pulled out of the country entirely, giving up billions of dollars in revenue and letting Baidu completely take over.
You say you're not a "hater", but you post almost exclusively on this subject, not just on HN, but on your other social network accounts. My facebook feed is pretty much 100% on bad stuff about Trump these days, and it would be completely accurate to characterize me as a Trump hater.
And for the record, people are pretty vocal internally about fixing product excellence and customer support issues. One of the chief reasons why complaining on HN works, is that so many Googlers care about this issue and are dismayed to see what should be customer support issues on HN. Righting a ship with several billion users is going to take time. Microsoft and Apple has 3+ decades of experience organically growing their consumer support culture.
If your company is going to take a stand against censorship, and is willing to leave a country to do it: Great. But let's not get off topic, and talk about how Google has been found guilty of antitrust, and fined for it. A trivial fine, mind you, Google makes that much in literally seconds, yet Google has refused to pay it, and has since already gotten fined again for noncompliance. And no move on Google releasing manufacturers from the illegal terms they're being held to with respect to the Russian market.
The issue with Google's patents is their hypocrisy. They claim they're against patent litigation, but only actually pledge not to abuse a tiny percentage of their own stockpile. We cannot and should not trust a corporation to not act in it's best interest. While it may not be in Google's interest to patent troll today, neither you nor anyone at Google can rationally say they won't tomorrow. Leadership changes, market positions change, and Google, first and foremost, has to serve it's stockholders. Microsoft doesn't so much get a "pass" on the matter as a stay of execution, because they're chipping away at a criminal operation.
600 million Chinese Android non-OHA smartphones are shipping, millions more in India, lots of evidence you can ship AOSP forked devices, so I don't agree with Europe and Russia's argument. My guess is, if Google just focused on the Pixel as the premier container for their mobile apps, and the rest of the world was AOSP, you'd see Google's services installed by OEMs anyway, because of the sheer popularity of most of them, just as you see on the Web. And Russia could have their Putin-approved Yandex phone, which should make bloggers happy.
Do you think the Great Firewall is an example of "how much better the market works"? You know, where BAT (Baidu/Alibaba/Tencent) are the oligarchy who controls everything? Have you tried Baidu's search? It's terrible, even for searching for information on the Chinese mainland web.
Your "see how much better things work?" is that 600 million phones are shipping with worse versions of Android, with worse security, lots of malware/spyware, and government censorship.
I suppose thats a victory for the investors with Baidu stock, and Beijing's thirst to control the flow of information, but it doesn't look like a victory for consumers to me, or an example of "markets working"
If I saw a resume and it had Google on it, it doesn't really tell me much other than they played the tech interview game well. It would actually be a signal that I should not interview them like the way Google and others do because they know how to do optimized studying for it. Instead, some other interview method should be used to find out if they're actually a good engineer instead of just good at studying.
This would likewise apply to seasoned ex-Facebook, Twitter, Square, Amazon, etc engineers. These are likely people who had to work with teams on reliable complex systems that serve a big audience. It won't matter for the prototype you use to get seed funding, but I'd argue it matters for the eventual rewrite.
I'd work at google if I got an offer, because why not. I know it's a big company and everything, oh well.
I'd settle for passing the interview though. Don't like failing. :P
Don't get so down on yourself. :) The chances of Google hiring you are zero if you don't apply, but if you do, they're definitely positive.
This is a truly wonderful place to work; if you are interested in being here, I'd encourage you to apply in spite of your self doubt. :)
>> simply practiced interview questions for about three to four months, every day, from morning till night. I then had three phone interviews around November, which I passed.
It's interesting (& funny) to see both high schoolers and experienced people spend similar amount of time (~several months) practicing for these types of technical interviews.
The thorny -- and important issue -- in all of this is recognize that the cost of "studying for a few months" varies sharply between people. when it comes to matters of equity of access, this is something that this model is bad at dealing with. Some 17yr old with a solid family background who has no responsibilities is facing very different constraints on "studying for a few months" then an older single-family professional trying to make a career switch.
It's the definition of qualified that needs to change.
This whole thing feels like myth making. Googler's aren't perfect space aliens.
I spent ~ 6 hours prepping for my interviews, and got an offer. About half that time was cramming Stroustrup's "A Tour of C++" for my C++ interview, since I hadn't used it in a year or so. The other half was going through the most common data structures and algorithms and refreshing my memory.
The coolest thing I used in my interviews was Union-Find.
FWIW, the company I left was actively hiring and I had interviewed 15 candidates in the preceding two months, so I was used to the process.
So if I support binary gendering on toilets, I'm not welcome at Google? Why has it become necessary to subscribe to a particular set of political beliefs in order to work for Silicon Valley firms?
I have been in Silicon Valley for almost a year now after moving from the Midwest. I have been able to talk freely with my coworkers about some of my conservative views. Yet when I have shared what would count as "traditional values" on internal forums I have been on the receiving end of redicual and name calling.
I very much would like to hear a thoughtful response on why Silicon Valley is so unaccepting of political dissent.
But now we have a problem. What if there are conservative employees who do not support gay marriage rights? Should their opinions and feelings not count? If Yahoo is an open and accepting place, then it should be just as acceptable for a manager to send emails to employees inviting them to Straight Parade, or to "Anti Gay Marriage" Parade. But if that were to happen, the manager would be fired immediately.
Being against Gay Marriage rights is a political opinion, just like being FOR Gay Marriage rights. Isn't it discriminatory that a company like Yahoo is only allowing one opinion to be heard? In fact, isn't it problematic that Yahoo is promoting ANY political opinion in the first place? For Yahoo to remain an accepting and open work place, it should either have no political agenda at all, or it should promote all political opinions equally.
The primary difference, in practice, between something like Gay Pride and something like "Straight Pride", would be the power dynamic between the two.
Historically, and even to some extent currently, the people with more power have been those who would be in the latter parade.
"Punching up" is what it's called when you are challenging a group more powerful than you - "punching down" is more commonly referred to as "bullying".
> Historically, and even to some extent currently
Surely only the current situation matters? Why should the people now care about the power dynamic of the past?
The reason to care about the dynamic of the past is that people are influenced by the past - in particular, people's actions in the present are often based on things that they did or that were done to them in the past.
Specifically, here, the reason to care about the past is that, even if/when we reached a point of equilibrium, where a subset of people were no longer in a minority of power, there would still likely be X Pride events for a while after, because the feeling of needing/wanting such things would not go away overnight.
Or even multidimensional. a "sum across all dimensions" doesn't make sense to me.
We are talking about something (power) that differs across contexts, locations, times etc.
Power is as complex as our (human) social organisation, an is not amenable to linear algebra.
> people are influenced by the past
Unless that is is a result of holding this belief; People are never influenced about the past, only by their subjective, current beliefs about the past. It would make more sense to consider what people believe now.
Marxist historical analysis has fallen out of favor for a good reason.
> would not go away overnight
Desire for power will never go away.
The "subset of people" is biased towards how you do your grouping; For example, that I, a white man, am naturally grouped with white slavers of the past, such that modern black Americans have something to resent me for.
Your narrative here relies on these kind of groupings in order to talk about "a point of equilibrium" and "no longer in a minority of power" - you need to identify a group as the same over a period of time in order to make these distinctions.
There is a difference. If you are for gay marriage, you support gays having the same rights as everyone else. If you are against it, you want them to have less rights, just because they are gay, even though it doesn't affect your own rights in any way.
Now, it's still a political opinion, but it's reasonable for other people to not like it. Being in favor of segregation is also a political opinion but would provoke similar backlash.
> it looks bad because
where we have these insidious "interpretations" then end up in requiring you to do or say one thing or another to prove your allegiance to some principle other people consider sacred.
I mean, you could theoretically accept any viewpoint, but you don't really want nazis in your company to be an accepted thing.
I attribute it to the history of feminism. First-wave feminism genuinely dealt with human rights issues where dissent was based on a twisted view of humanity (e.g. women are property of men, not autonomous subjects). The late third and fourth waves have kept the same assumption about the nature of their views. But the views themselves are very much more extreme and unintuitive.
Again, I'd love to hear someone explain it better from their own feminist point of view.
Such an attitude, although less harmful than many more common workplace problems, is so high on the jerk scale that I cannot imagine how it could be considered a political issue. It's as absurd as asserting one's right to drive while drunk.
For example, I don't believe there is a fixed age where a person magically develops the facilities to make sexual choices. However, I do support a fixed, explicit age of consent - A legal parameter only needs to be practical.
With my opening comment in mind, what if I reject your premise and believe that ones gender should match their sex? Is it not a political issue when a portion of the population believe transgenderism is alright and another portion believe differently?
I feel like the standard for what counts as "diversity and inclusion" is skewed. There is no problem with an atheist opening being critical of religion. Yet I cannot openly critique the merits of anything in the LGBTQQIP2SAA community.
Is the end goal that everyone has the "right" answer to specific questions and no one has hurt feelings or is the end goal that an open honest dialog between radically different viewpoints can happen where all parties are respected regardless of the topic being discussed or who is involved in the discussion? Someone please chime in if they disagree but I see a lot of former happening and only lip service being paid to the later.
I don't see not being evil as a controversial issue, with "radically different viewpoints" deserving "open honest dialog".
Unisex toilets are just a simple and inexpensive way to be not evil; unfortunately touching the subject of gender is a strong temptation for many people to divert the discussion towards the most toxic and horrible politically correct or intolerant ideas.
If your premise is considering "protected classes" rather than people and discussing "transgenderism" as if it were abstract you are clearly not thinking about the comfort and well-being of your coworkers.
But you just made it up? Don't you mean "such an interpretation" - you can fashion a narrative around any belief.
If a population of conservative engineers existed who refused to work at a place with non-binary toilets, would you make the same statement? Or would they not be good at their jobs?
I could speculate the same about the trans engineers, I'm sure it wouldn't be welcome.
> Having a conservative politic is a choice
Please expand on this; what specifically is not a choice in contrast, and how does this relate to this situation?
There are situations in which I feel "uncomfortable", and not by choice; but this is unrelated to whether I am receiving unfair treatment.
Why do you think that allowing employees to protest male and female only toilets means that you are not welcome? Should all dissenting voices be silenced? I'm for unisex toilets, it is just more convenient. But that doesn't means that I HATE people that has a different view. It is my preference, and I think that at least I should be able to express it.
Who doesn't want that?
And BTW one of the worlds leading IBM experts (ie IBM used to get him to give talks ) to used to meditate in his own home made flotation tank - he one saved a quarterly billing run that was measured in hundreds of millions.
Nicely done! Seems like you're well on your way to being a very successful engineer.
However, he lost me at
> Googley to stand up for diversity and inclusion, such as protesting against binary gendering on toilets
Is it Google's business? Why should Google be involved?
Why cater to 0.6% of the population, at the expense of convenience for the 99.4%?
At my last job we had "non-binary", "all-inclusive" bathrooms. They're just awkward.
Not the stalls themselves, but having to share the bathroom with females, who would also rather have their separate, female bathroom.
My understanding is that we're not trying to strike down all the barriers and make all toilets unisex, but there definitely are people who are working to make sure that every building has at least one of those unisex single-occupancy bathrooms, for people who need it. It doesn't cost Googlers anything except at most a couple of conference rooms.
It is the fact of protesting such matters at work that threw me off in the first place. Opinions shouldn't be crammed down people's throats.
As a primary-carer father raising a toddler I don't like that terminology. I'd prefer that they'd just call it a Lactating Room rather than trying to be coy and seemingly indicating a preference for one parent.
It's named a "mother's room" because it's for feeding/pumping, and so it's an attempt to offer privacy to people lactating. He's objecting to the name's failure to properly convey that, suggesting that (like putting changing tables solely in women's rooms) it reinforces the (harmful to both genders) assumption that childcare is a female task.
Which is to say - a "baby care room" is also a good idea, but it would be a room with a different use. The proposed name change was about making the name conform to the current intent of the room.
In fact - it's considerably less than 0.6% in real life.
The manner in which they calculate 'non gender binary' is really, really soft - i.e. 'if don't feel entirely male or female' you can often be included in that group.
Hell, I'm a pretty straight white dude, but I don't feel 'fully male' 100% of the time!
Moreover - most trans people are actually still 'binary' - they still identify as one or the other.
I'm inclined to agree that Google has more of share of people who are not binary, but in reality, the number is really, really small. Much smaller than 0.6%.
In Australia, many offices, pubs and clubs have 'unisex toilets' which are basically just a whole bunch of small individual stalls with toilets + basin. Most of the time it isn't necessarily about being progressive, just cost saving and practicality.
Do all those 99.4% of people consider it an "expense"? A lot of people are happy to make a small sacrifice if it greatly benefits other people.
You don't get to impose your morality on other people. Morality is a personal belief, and nothing more. It's that simple.
There are, for example, a number of people who would not get an abortion, but believe in the right of others to doso.
I was trying to indicate the difference between "I would never" and "no one should ever" - the former being a belief that attempts to say nothing about what other people should or should not do, where the latter certainly says something about what everyone should do.
So I agree that unisex toilets can be a good idea, but it's a different matter to protest against binary gendering on toilets. I wouldn't like to work for a company that partakes in politics.
The fact this comment is not gray having such overt misogyny speaks poorly of HN as a tech community. This is what keeps women out of tech.
Mods, please delete this.
On this though: "On my last day, my team got me some cake and gave me some very sweet farewell gifts, such as the potato below."
What's with the potato? Is that some inside joke at Google?
Pretty much consolidates my view that AlphaGo was Google's IBM Deep Blue moment ie now past their peak. Their future products and services are going to be increasingly as distant from reality as the people themselves are, and thus much less useful or profitable.
Most Google engineers will tell you that Google is trying to make the world a better place, rather than the reality that Google is trying to make incredibly large amounts of money at the expense of anything that gets in their way.
In any case, good on Google for warning people about that, especially younger interns/employees. Some people just get into the lifestyle and end up realizing what they lost way too late. Work isn't everything. It's important to wind down by doing things other than what you do at work/school, such as exercise, meditation, or a just developing a hobby in general.
This was the only part I could completely identify with. Perhaps even using Google Slides would have been acceptable! But what geek could resist the allure of Beamer... :)
For context, they'll have a hallway with a dozen single bathrooms. They're not even mixing genders. But folks are so obsessed with their own fears of the unknown that they happily jump on any excuse to deny trans personhood.
For context, trans people are less likely to be predators or violent, and much more likely to be the victims of violent crimes.
It's also hard to make absurd amounts of cash having fun during university too (well, at least it's like that in the US).
Especially if someone is not a senior. (American slang for a student in their final year)
Nitpicking: "Disclaimer: All opinions expressed below are my own." ??? Who else? How does poor legalese help your story? I swear: nobody will sue you.
If someone happens to have experience with interning at CERN, I'd love to hear about that :-)
Obviously they didn't have the perks of Google because they don't have the sheer cash flow, but they both described it as a fun and interesting place to work, with an entertaining social side among the employees.
IMHO, the author is playing the "I like you very much and I'm going to be agreeable with just about everything you say and do, so you won't go wrong if you pick me to come back" game. At least they're demonstrating they have a good understanding of social networking.
This reads like it's supposed to be an experience review, but it's incredibly over-positive and unbalanced/unfair. There are no real negatives mentioned. So I can only experience it as "I want to come back very much".
That the author has gone to this extent (and only mentioned their successes) suggests either insecurity (impostor syndome) or - likelier - fear they won't be accepted back. The author did mention that their reviewers showed them some instances where they went wrong, I'm wondering if this is the main reason for this or whether it was simply the overwhelming environment.
On another note, since everyone's added their opinions of actually working at Google I might as well join in.
First of all, I took a look at the link noted in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13086051 and I don't agree with any of the points raised in there; most of that article can be adequately explained as conspiracy theory and provocation/incitation, I don't think the points they raise (and attempt to inflame) have much substance.
That said, I do have some concerns of my own.
The issue that's likeliest to have the biggest practical impact for me personally is that I have absolutely no foundation in math, due to the fact that I was born with severe learning difficulties that I only began to correctly identify around 18-22 and which I'm still in the process of learning how to counter for (I'm 26 now).
This means that while I'm well-developed in more areas today than ever, math is an area I'm so far behind on I have zero incentive to catch up because I'd have so much foundational stuff to deal with. For example, I was at the supermarket a few months ago basically pushing all the buttons on my calculator as I couldn't remember what operator(s) to use to figure out how many onions I could buy for the amount of money I had. This wasn't a cognition problem - it was simply the fact that I am that ignorant about math as a subject.
Tackling that to get a compsci job just doesn't seem like a good use of my time since I'll be 40 in a bit over 10 years and it may take me that long (or longer) to catch up. Normal kids to start to learn rudimentary math concepts around 8 or so after all. (I tried, but none of it never made any sense.)
So I definitely appreciated all these pictures, knowing I'll never be likely to call a place like this home.
I most also admit I'm more than a little jealous at the "nearly free" store - I could certainly do with changing my trend of having computers that are always 10 years old (my very limited disability support pension prevents me from legally getting a job, while diagnosis and ongoing treatment are unbelievably expensive!). Consistently old tech is one of the major reasons I haven't been able to springboard myself off of my pension and get a job - I've always been incredibly fascinated with animation, the visual arts, 3D, etc, and I'm on computers that swap like mad if I have more than 3 or 4 browser tabs open.
Beyond these issues, there's the very tricky problem of the fact that Google isn't a startup, and I can't say I'm too enthused by the fact that it's generally frowned upon to want to define your own job title - I can see this stifling a lot of innovation (Google Reader, Google Wave, etc) that isn't an immediately apparent hit.
For perhaps obvious reasons I've grown up always looking at the long view, and Google's corporate culture seems to have a very short attention span.
Nobody is likely to ever read this but I thought I'd leave this here as a real-world example of why someone might not be a good fit for an environment like Google.
If someone from Google ever wants to prove me wrong I'd be very happy to hear about it! :D
This is BS.
99.99% of the world is find with the 'binary signage' on toilets, and it is absolutely not 'anti trans' or 'anti anyone else' frankly, to do so.
BTW - this is not like a 1960's movement - you're not in the 'right side of history' here. 'Binary Gender' is, and will always be normative, simply because almost everyone is binary, and is fine with it. The number of people who actually have issues with 'binary' is very, very small. Even most people who are trans are still 'binary' (!) i.e. they identify as one gender or the other, not anything in between.
I somehow doubt that 'it's Googley' to be this, this may be a little bit of a stretch, or 'mis-articulation' by the author.
Though I don't have a problem at all with someone who is 'anti gender binary' (I don't really care) - I do have a problem with a company that pushes social extremism as part of their culture. It's just more evidence of the culty behaviour at Google.
I make a hobby of studying cults. I used to go into the Scientology clinic to 'take the test' and kind of debate with them, to get an understanding of how they are. I used to read a lot of their stuff - not for the 'knowledge' but to grasp the nature of the organization.
These kinds of 'ideals' are actually far more about creating a coherent group, than projecting any ideals.
Google is a good company, generally, but they do some nefarious things with our data. One of the great things about having a 'we are morally superior' cult, is that any decision made by Google that can feasibly be considered unethical - won't be, using the internal logic of 'We don't do evil, so, what we are doing cannot be evil'.
Anyhow, it takes working at several companies for a while to start to figure this out.
If Google has a practical reason to have special signage, all the power to them.
I care about the 'social ethos unwittingly imbued on people' as a function of an aggressive culture.
The signage is an artifact of the culture, as implied by the author it's 'Googly', i.e. 'these are the values that we must have' - which may have nothing to do with the workplace, but more to do with projecting ideology.
If an Atheist was required to have 'morning prayer' at a company ... would this be acceptable? I mean, why should an Atheist care? It's just a bunch of words that would effectively have no meaning to them? Of course, it wouldn't be right to have 'prayer', per say, as a 'cultural requirement' unless it was a religious org, or special in that manner. Imagine being the only one at your company who 'doesn't do it' ... you'd be the Black Sheep surely.
Google may have an over-representation of people with gender ID issues, and may very well just have some pragmatic solutions, like 'individual bathrooms' that are just marked as 'bathrooms'. This seems like a rather good solution to me, and avoids the ideological issues entirely. There's no argument needed, anywhere. But to specifically foster 'anti gender binary ideals' as part of the culture is wrong.
My guess is the author is projecting is own ideals onto what 'Googly' means.
Ask someone 'what Burning Man means' - and you get 1000 different answers. Most of them 'authoritative'. :).
Moreover, you're likely unwittingly helping me make my point.
If going to great measures to make sure people who break the mold feel comfortable constitutes "social extremism", well, I'm glad we're extreme.
In other words, it means a hell of a lot.
But by trying to pretend that it's ok for the 'other half' but not you, you're failing to advance your argument - which is that people should get comfortable with your package being prominently displayed. Because to you it is the equivalent of an ass/breasts/pecs being enhanced in some way?
Look I'm all for drinking kosher soda. It doesn't affect me.
Having to adopt my language to accommodate every minority group (of which there is an infinite number) is just too heavy a cognitive load with zero benefit to me. It benefits my friends who ask me but I refuse and ask them to instead accommodate my not wanting to. And I think that's fair?
If someone said to you, "Please call me Matt" do you respond with "But your birth certificate says Matthew! How am I supposed to handle this cognitive load? What's the benefit for me, Matthew?"
Matt is coming at five? No Jemima is coming at five. Matt is coming at four.
Also Sarah is coming with her partner Zoe. Ze said ze would be here at 4 also zey're getting a ride with Matt.
Not to mention that now when I talk about women, I have to also consider every other gender non binary person as requested by OP. He doesn't want it to be essentialized and pragmatically to be inclusive one has to therefore moderate all language relating to gender.
That is a significant cognitive load and I wish people would stop pretending it's simple. I live around and have friends who are trans/binary non gender people and it's hard work keeping up.
What we're trying to tell you here isn't "you should concentrate harder, learn it by rote, and never ever say it wrong". Rather: "just give it as much thought as you'd give someone telling you to call them Dave." No more, because nobody wants to make your life any harder, and any sane person would understand it if you forget. This is a preference, not an imposition.
And also no less, because at the end of the day it's a very little thing for you, and might mean a lot to them.
Grammar and plurals become weird? - You've already given it more thought than I think I'd have :) In my case, because I'm not a native speaker, I would have probably messed the grammar anyway.
I couldn't care less about any team-mate of mine coming dressed the way they wanted. And I'm not surrounded by "every minority group", so if someone told me tomorrow he rather I use "he"/"she"/whatever when referring to them in public, they'll be the first one and I'll have no problem at all. I might forget some times, but that's fine too. Pronouns are also more of a personal thing than a minority group thing: I don't change my language when I talk to black people, or to white Americans, but if a person asks me, sure, why would I give a damn about language if that makes them feel better.
I mean, you know that, but I just wanted to come out and comment here, lest the OP thinks that things like having single-stall bathrooms and keeping your opinions of how others dress to yourself makes one a social extremists.
What can I say - I admire your patience, and glad that there are places where you are not forced to exercise it as often.
Do try to be inclusive when making a point about how happy you are to be inclusive.
So whether I'm interested in your genitalia or not is beside the point. You were trying to draw a false equivalence, I wanted you to understand why it was different for you and not 'half of the office'.
p.s. I'm a big fan of Google, they helped me to quit being an employee for good, but I appreciate the advice :)
I don't quite know what you're implying. If you got rich on our stock, good for you. If you actually used to work here, you are fundamentally different from the people I've met so far and I'm glad you're not here any more.
You'll either learn to appreciate the other parts of the spectrum of thought that exist at google or you'll form cliques.
And I wasn't implying, just responding to your suggestion and advice.
Let me also offer some unsolicited advice - I don't recommend encouraging people to leave because you disagree with them. I also don't recommend assuming to represent google and the thousands of people who work there.
AFAICT, even many people that see gender as binary favor gender-neutral restrooms.
> The number of people who actually have issues with 'binary' is very, very small.
The number of people who identify outside of the classical binary distinction mau be small (or it may be that lots of people simply lack vocabulary to explain non-binary identity, which makes non-binary identity less visible as such), but lots of people whose own identity fit into the traditional binary distinction nevertheless have real problems with the binary view and its normativity.
Let this experiment run for a few months.
Then compare the number of people who complain about that experiment with the number of people who complain about binary signage.
I'm betting the former number will dwarf the latter. And no, I don't have a citation for that, just giving my opinion.
Most homes don't have gendered toilets. Why is that so common at work?
Why do you think the separation was made?
First, home bathrooms are reliably single-user. Some people are deeply uncomfortable with the idea of sharing a bathroom with people of another gender (though exactly which people they would not want to share with is a complicated question). Interestingly, this seems to be a bigger deal in the US, where our stalls are shoddy and easy to see into.
Second, cleanliness. Mostly, home bathrooms stay clean on a system of "if you make a mess you'll get yelled at". That's not viable in public settings, so gendering helps ensure that there are clean toilet seats for those who need to sit on them. Again, not totally effective, but relevant.
Third, most public and business bathrooms have a bunch of gendered additions which aren't present in homes. Urinals, hygiene/contraceptive vending, and (controversially) changing tables are the big ones.
For a sanity check on that list, think about the public bathrooms that aren't gendered. Single-person bathrooms are often marked male/female/family/disabled, on the grounds that they have a toilet, changing tables, and cause no particular gender issues. Similarly, porta-potties are usually unisex, whether or not they include a urinal. Again, they're single-user and generally filthy no matter who uses them.
So there's a bunch of reasons. But the third - the most objective - doesn't actually require gendered signage. A "facilities" list would be more useful and effective for those issues. The second is a bit ambiguous - gender doesn't seem to be the strongest predictor of bathroom hygiene, and there are options here. The first is the strictly gendered one, but it's actually quite complex! For all the concern of "gender identity doesn't make a person look like they fit here", "gender assigned at birth" is no better at ensuring "only people who look like they belong here". The ways to achieve that would be subjective and probably inconsistent between complainants.
Reasons for signage, then, but not necessarily for gendered signage.
It definitely is when you have very few elements to chose from.
When the 'men's' one-ey is 'in use' in Starbucks, I often go into the 'women's' - and it's very consistently cleaner.
It is what it is.
I think I've seen baby-changing tables at all if not most male restrooms at Google.
Urinals... I've never seen another person's trunk when using urinals. I'd get upset if you tried to look at mine no matter your sex or gender. And I'd get as upset as a woman if you showed it like an exhibicionist, even though I have one too. So I think in practice, at Google, urinals wouldn't ultimately matter.
Hygiene and contraceptive vending I can see how people might want to be more private about.
As it stands, the world is mostly made for right-handed people, with a lot of accommodation for lefties.
In very lose terms, the number of people who identify as 'somewhere on the spectrum of gender' is about 0.5% - but this includes a huge amount of people who have a 'feeling' and frankly, are probably ideological about it, i.e. "I don't believe in gender, ergo, I refuse to identify as one".
The actual number of people who truly do not fit in essentially or pragmatically one or the other gender - to the point wherein they would feel uncomfortable going into either a male or female bathroom is extremely small. Remember that even most trans people actually identify with one gender or the other.
So, when > 99.9% of a population 'is something' ... 'it's normative'.
It's not within reason or pragmatism to change how everyone on the planet refers to gender - and our entire 'bathroom social norms' to accommodate a tiny minority.
Here is a practical, non-ideological solution:
It seems as though every edifice has to provide special facilities for handicapped people.
Change the sign on the handicapped door, to something considerably more generic, like 'a bathroom for whoever' - and then those who are not comfortable with male/female - or for any other reason - can use it.
Now the 99.9% have their bathrooms - and 'everyone else' who doesn't fit perfectly into that paradigm, can use the 'other' facility.